An impressive donation of nearly £5,000 from the Rockfish restaurant chain has allowed the Royal Dart Youth Sailing Trust (RDYST) to purchase the latest RS Quest sailing dinghy to add to its fleet and so make it possible for even more children in the Dartmouth area to get out on the water.

RDYST was established in June 2016 with the aim of giving local children who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity a chance to try sailing. It also supports the Royal Dart Yacht Club (RDYC) junior sailing.  

During the summer holidays, the Trust has given 64 primary and 24 secondary school children from Kingswear, Galmpton, Stoke Fleming, St Johns, Totnes, East Allington Primary and Dartmouth Academy the chance to sail. Those from Kingswear Primary and Dartmouth Academy spent two days achieving RYA level 1 whilst everyone else enjoyed a ‘learning to sail’ taster day. For most of the children it was their first experience of sailing. With almost non-stop sunshine and fair winds, confidence soon grew resulting in lots of capsizing games towards the end of each day. One of the children, who had never been on the water before, was heard to tell her instructor: “This has been the best day of my life!”

Each of the restaurants in the Rockfish group supports a local charity through an optional £1 table donation. Rockfish owner and chef Mitch Tonks said: “We love what the Royal Dart Youth Sailing Trust does in giving children from all different walks of life the chance to sail. Sailing has always been something I’ve enjoyed doing with my family and I am delighted that, through the Trust and through our customers’ generous support, we are helping them fund a new dinghy and are encouraging more young would-be sailors to take to the water.” Mitch named the RS Quest sailing dinghy ‘Stella Maris’, which means ‘star of the sea’.  

Chairman of the Royal Dart Youth Sailing Trust, Ian McClelland commented: “We hugely appreciate the support by the customers of Rockfish and all the support Mitch Tonks himself has given to the Trust along with the many other sponsors as well as the Royal Dart Yacht Club who make their facilities available for our use. For the children who are getting the chance to sail, it really is a life-changing opportunity.” 

The Royal Dart Youth Sailing Trust offers several opportunities to get involved through sponsorship. You can get in touch via office@rdyst.co.uk to find out more about the various sailing activities or to explore the various packages which include sponsoring a young person to take up some sail training for one or more years, the naming of two individual boats, or even putting company or business logos on sails of the six new RS Quest dinghies.